Panera Bread has begun testing AI technology in drive-thru lanes with an aim to improve and enhance the guest experience. With support from OpenCity, select Panera bakery-cafes in Webster and Greece, New York area have implemented OpenCity’s proprietary voice AI ordering technology, called “Tori”, for drive-thru orders, with the goal of maximizing efficiency and increasing speed of orders.

“Tori” will take orders as normal at the drive-thru speaker, with Panera associates on standby to assist if needed to troubleshoot any issues. Drive-thru guests can pull up to their Panera drive-thru, place their order as usual with assistance from Tori and pay the Panera associate for their menu items at the drive-thru window.

Panera expects the addition of this technology at the drive-thru to help to cut down wait times, improve order accuracy and allow associates to focus on freshly preparing guests’ orders.

“At Panera, improving our guest experience is always our priority and we are using this innovative technology to help enable a faster, more accurate order for each of our drive-thru guests,” says Debbie Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Panera Bread. “The potential of AI drive-thru technology is incredibly exciting for us – we are eager to evaluate the performance of these tests and the possibility of expanding this technology in additional bakery-cafes.”